Nitrogen dioxide

Learn about nitrogen dioxide indoors, its sources and health risks. Also find out how you can limit your exposure.

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What is nitrogen dioxide?

Nitrogen dioxide is a gas that may be harmful to your health and the environment.

The main source of nitrogen dioxide in homes includes gas appliances, such as:

  • gas stoves
  • water heaters
  • fireplaces
  • furnaces
  • generators

Nitrogen dioxide can also enter your home from outdoor sources, such as:

  • an idling car in an attached garage
  • traffic from a nearby roadway

Cigarette smoke also contains nitrogen dioxide.

What are the health risks?

Nitrogen dioxide can decrease your lung function and make asthma worse. Long-term exposure to low levels of nitrogen dioxide can increase your risk of developing breathing problems, such as:

  • coughing
  • wheezing

People who may be more sensitive to nitrogen dioxide include those with:

How can Canadians limit their exposure to nitrogen dioxide?

You can limit your exposure to nitrogen oxide in your home by following the tips below.

  • Make sure that gas stoves have a range hood fan that vents to the outside. This is important to use while cooking.
  • Cook on the back burner of your gas stove. This helps direct nitrogen dioxide and other gasses to the exhaust fan.
  • Maintain fuel-burning appliances. Have them inspected by a qualified professional at least once a year. This is especially important for gas appliances because leaks are difficult to detect.
  • Make sure sources of nitrogen dioxide are vented to the outside. This includes:
  • gas stoves
  • fireplaces
  • other gas appliances
  • Avoid idling cars or other gas-burning equipment in enclosed spaces, like an attached garage.

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